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Vinyl windows question

Question from Carol

Hi Debra,

I have chemical sensitivities and two years and three months ago I had to move after new vinyl double pane windows were put in all the windows in all the apartments in the building I was living in. I moved out during the installation period, when the smell was incredibly terrible. I tried moving back over a course of I think it was almost two months. Both times I became horribly sick on the second night back home. (Flu symptoms and vomiting.) So I moved out but now have an opportunity to move back. The apartment I am living in currently has vinyl windows so I know I can handle older vinyl. I am wondering if there might still be a risk after this period of two years and three months.

Thank you.

Debra’s Answer

The older vinyl is, the less it releases toxic fumes, for they already have been released . For an average healthy person, two years and three months is probably fine. Since you are so sensitive and have been sensitive to vinyl, I would test out being there for a day or two before committing to living there.

Personally, I wouldn’t live in a home with vinyl windows.

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Car air purifiers

Question from Denise Arias


I need an air purifier for the car. Can you recommend a certain brand?


Debra’s Answer

Many years ago I had an air filter in my car. I used the auto air filter from E. L. Foust Company and I was very happy with it.

Readers, do you have experience you’d like to share with any others?

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Have your hater tested for this….nitrates!

Question from Christine

Unfortunately, I learned a little too late about a potential health hazard that is not often in the limelight. Please have your water tested for nitrates. This test is usually not included on regular well testing. It is especially important if you live around any agricultural areas, as nitrates often come from the decomposition of manure. For my family, it produced numerable digestive complaints, along with bluing around the lips for my young children. Nitrates can also cause blue baby syndrome, and is especially dangerous for children under a year old. Nitrates CANNOT be filtered completely out of water unless it is distilled. To lower the level of nitrates , one can use a reverse osmosis or special ionizer.The level of nitrates are also INCREASED with heating and boiling the water.

Wishing you all well,, Christine

Debra’s Answer

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Awesome Popcorn popper!!!

Question from Christine

If you are searching for a fun healthy popcorn popper, you may want to try BACK TO BASICs stove top popper. There are different styles. Look for the one that is stainless steel. It was so fun to use the first time, my daughter was jumping up and down in excitement. It can be used on most any stove top surface and works great on my ceran stovetop. We just crank the handle as popcorn is heated in the pot . We bought ours at target for about $30. May I also suggest trying organic all vegetable shortening ( palm oil) made by Spectrum to use with the popper…yumMMM!



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Starbucks paper cups

Question from gayle

I’m almost frightened to ask this, but do you, or anyone, know how safe or unsafe the “hot cups” are from Starbucks?? I love that they serve organic milk, but what happens to it once they pour it in those bleached paper cups?!

Debra’s Answer

I went down to Starbuck’s and got a paper hot cup. Looks pretty white to me. But then I noticed that it says right on the cup, “Made with 10% post-consumer recycled fiber.” So I called the corporate headquarters and was told that their coffee filters, paper cups, and paper food contianers are whitened with a “nontoxic bleach.” I was glad to hear that about the coffee filters!

Now I know there are two processes for bleaching paper. One uses chlorine, which produces very toxic dioxin, which can leach into foods and beverages from paper packaging. The other uses oxygen bleach, and it doesn’t form dioxin.

Given the information given to me by Starbuck’s I would say they are aware of the dioxin problem with chlorine-bleached white paper cups, and are using a safely bleached cup.

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Windshield Wiper Fluid – Non-toxic

Question from Howard Herscovici


Recently there was an incident in our area of some people getting very ill, and one person dying, from drinking punch that was stored in containers that had windshield wiper fluid.

It got me to thinking of the toxicity of this stuff that we spray all the time into the environment.

Does anyone having any stats on this? It would be interesting.

Wondering if anyone knows of a product, commercial or home-made, that does the job. I am up in Ontario and it gets pretty cold here, way below zero. So it can’t freeze. That might be the hard part.

Anyway, look forward to being part of this blog. There is a lot to learn.

Debra’s Answer

I think we’re going to need to figure this one out all together.

For those of you who are not aware of what windshield wiper fluid is made from, it’s methanol, a very toxic solvent (see Methanol Poisoning Overview). In addition to our own exposure, when we use methan

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Question from Joe

Has anyone found a good disinfectant that is certified by either Green Seal or ECP (Canadian Seal)? I know of two, but they are VERY expensive. If not a certified product, has anyone found a disinfectant that has no ammonia chloride in it that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg?

Debra’s Answer

Vinegar and hot water! I wrote all about this in my book Home Safe Home.

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Jacuzzi Cleaner?

Question from Patricia

You have been and continue to be a life saver for me and so many other people. Thank you so much for all your kind work.

I am chemically sensitive and I have a Jacuzzi where I take a whirlpool bath each night to help me with chronic back pain. I have not been able to find a non-toxic product to do heavy cleaning of the jets and circulation system.

Do you know of any products I may be able to use or where I might do research to help me find a useable product? My husband, lucky me, does all the cleaning so I wouldn’t have to do cleaning but I find it difficult to be in the steam of a hot bath where toxic products have been used. Anything you can do to help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again.

Debra’s Answer

Don’t have a jacuzzi, so don’t have any experience with this. Readers?

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New book on dangers of RBGH in milk

Question from Bob Jordan

I’d like to recommend a new book on the dangers of RBGH I came across, It’s called What’s In Your Milk? An Exposé of Industry and Government Cover-Up on the DANGERS of the Genetically Engineered (rBGH) Milk You’re Drinking by Samuel S. Epstein, MD. In it, Dr. Esptein tells the dangers of rBGH and why we should drink certified organic milk.

To read more about it go to

Debra’s Answer

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